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What’s The Link Between Dry Eye and Accutane (Acne Medication)

What’s The Link Between Dry Eye And Accutane 640×350Accutane, generically called isotretinoin, is an oral medication that is widely prescribed to treat severe acne that hasn’t responded to other treatments.

Although this drug often does a great job of reducing acne, it has several potential side effects that can affect many bodily systems, including the eyes.

Isotretinoin and Dry Eyes

Isotretinoin works by decreasing the size of the oil glands that secrete oil onto the skin. By reducing the production of the facial oils, the pores become less clogged and the amount of acne diminishes.

As the medication travels through the bloodstream, it also penetrates the eyelids’ meibomian glands, which produce the oil for tears.

These meibomian glands, which line the inner portion of the eyelids, play an important role in keeping the eyes hydrated and healthy by secreting oil to stabilize the tear film. When Accutane suppresses their function, the oil layer in the tear is inadequate, allowing excessive tear evaporation. As a result, the eyes dry out.

A 2012 study published in JAMA Dermatology analyzed the ocular effects of isotretinoin and concluded that taking it places patients at a significantly higher risk of experiencing a range of adverse ocular effects.

Common ocular conditions that were associated with this acne medication were dry eye syndrome, blepharitis, conjunctivitis, photosensitivity, contact lens intolerance and papilledema.

The researchers found that the ocular conditions resulted from changes to the cornea, eyelids, retina and meibomian glands. Additionally, the drug was found in the tear film and caused increased ocular irritation.

The good news is that these effects are often temporary, and resolve within a few months after completing treatment. One study, published in Optometry and Vision Science (2015), however, found that 1% of patients developed permanent meibomian gland dysfunction after taking isotretinoin.

How a Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

Some dermatologists will refer their patients to an optometrist for a dry eye evaluation before prescribing isotretinoin to treat acne. If the patient already has signs of ocular surface disease or is taking other medications that interfere with tear production, the doctor may decide against prescribing isotretinoin.

We can help by thoroughly assessing your ocular condition to help your dermatologist determine the best acne treatment for you, as well as help you manage your dry eye symptoms.

If you or a loved one is currently taking or has taken isotretinoin and is experiencing symptoms of dry eye syndrome such as eye irritation or burning eyes, we can offer lasting treatment and solutions.

To schedule your dry eye consultation or learn more about our services, call Eye Mechanix today.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Randall Ricketts

Q: Should I use lubricating eye drops while taking acne medication like isotretinoin?

  • A: Lubricating eye drops may be an appropriate treatment for medication-induced dry eye syndrome However always consult with your optometrist before purchasing drops from the drugstore. The huge range of choices in your local pharmacy can be hard to navigate alone, and not all eye drops will be right for you. We can help guide you to the best eye drops for your condition.

Q: What are the common symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include watery eyes, gritty eyes, burning or painful eyes, red and irritated eyes, mucus around the eyes, the inability to wear contact lenses, sensitivity to light and blurred vision. The frequency and severity of these symptoms can range greatly from patient to patient, and treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms.

serves patients from Chicago, La Grange , , and , Illinois and surrounding communities.

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Tips for Healthy Eyes If You’re Over 40

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If you’re in your 40s, you may have noticed physical changes that affect many aspects of your life, including your vision. Like the rest of your body, your eyes may need some extra care to function efficiently as you enter middle-age. The following tips will help you keep your eyes healthy from age 40 and beyond.

These tips do not replace a comprehensive eye exam and professional advice from your eye doctor.

1. Be Aware of Age-Related Changes in the Eyes

Understanding the way your eyes change after the age of 40 is the key to being proactive with eye care. For instance, if you find it more difficult to read the fine print in a book or computer screen than in the past, the problem is likely presbyopia, age-related farsightedness.

The lens inside the eye is responsible for changing focus, allowing us to see objects clearly both far away and up close. As the lens becomes harder and less flexible, it impairs the ability to focus up close. This makes it difficult to read the text in books or to see the images displayed on digital devices or computer screens. That’s why most people need reading glasses, multifocals or bifocals in their forties.

You should also be on the lookout for any changes to your vision, such as blurry night vision. Most often, this is due to cataracts — which cause blurry or cloudy vision due to the denaturation of protein in the eye’s natural lens — or macular degeneration, which is blurry or distorted vision caused by a deterioration of the central part of the retina. Glaucoma, which is caused by high eye pressure and results in tunnel vision, usually has no noticeable symptoms until vision loss has occurred.

Schedule a comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Randall Ricketts at Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park, who will assess your eyes for these sight-threatening eye diseases. Early diagnosis can prevent or minimize vision loss.

2. Watch for Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye syndrome is usually caused by the impaired functioning of the meibomian glands, located inside the eyelids. These glands produce oils that create a protective film for the tears that lubricate and protect the front surface of the eye. When there is a malfunction in these glands, tears can evaporate easily and the eyes can become dry, red and itchy.

Once over the age of 40, these tiny glands are more prone to becoming blocked, or the oils may become thicker.

Women who have undergone menopause have a higher likelihood of developing dry eye than younger women or men. In a study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, dry eye symptoms were reported by 17.9% of aging women compared with 10% of aging men.

Menopausal women should be aware of dry eye symptoms and consult their eye doctor, who may prescribe eye drops or other ways to [moisturize] their eyes. Wrap-around eyeglass frames protect the eyes from dry, windy weather, allergens and irritants.

3. Keep Your Optical Prescription Up-to-Date

Since eye changes tend to occur more rapidly among people over 40, it is important to ensure that your prescription glasses and contact lenses are still suitable for your eyes. This means consulting with an optometrist if you notice any difficulties seeing and reading, which may necessitate an updated prescription.

4. Schedule Regular Eye Exams

The older you get, the more important it is to have regular eye exams, particularly if you have symptoms of eye problems or have been diagnosed with diabetes. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, keeping your eyes healthy after the age of 40 requires consistent care. Schedule an eye exam with Dr. Randall Ricketts at Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Are Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration?

  • A: Macular degeneration often occurs among adults over the age of 60, although it can also occur in younger people. Since women tend to live longer than men, they have a higher rate than males of developing MD. Certain medications, such as vasodilators and oral beta blockers, can also increase the risks. Lifestyle also plays a significant role: Smoking, poor nutrition, obesity, high blood pressure and a sedentary lifestyle can all increase the chances of developing macular degeneration.

Q: Can the Progress of Macular Degeneration be Slowed?

  • A: Over the past several years, there have been significant advancements in the treatment of MD, and extensive research shows that specific nutrients can slow its progression. Omega 3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin can act to prevent the disease from developing to an advanced stage. They can lower the risks of the “dry” form of MD transforming into “wet” macular degeneration, a rarer but faster-developing form of the disease that can cause sudden and significant vision loss. Certain treatments, such as eye injections and laser therapy, can often delay MD’s progression. Eye injections for the “wet” form may even be able to restore lost sight.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Eye Mechanix for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


6 Things To Know About Keratoconus

happy couple in winter 640×350Keratoconus is an eye disease that causes the cornea, the clear dome-shaped front surface of the eye, to become misshapen and bulge. This progressive disease usually occurs in both eyes and affects approximately 50-200 in every 100,000 individuals.

People who have keratoconus often experience problems like blurred vision, distorted vision, night blindness and sensitivity to light. Clear vision correction for keratoconus can be challenging to achieve because the irregular corneal shape makes it difficult or impossible for standard eyeglasses or contact lenses to provide you with sharp vision.

Thankfully, there are ways for people with keratoconus to achieve clear and comfortable vision, something we explore below, along with several other key points about keratoconus.

1. Everyone has different risk factors for developing keratoconus

Some risk factors for developing keratoconus include:

  • Hereditary predisposition
  • Eye rubbing
  • Other medical conditions like Down syndrome, allergic dermatitis and connective tissue disorders
  • Eye inflammation

2. Keratoconus can develop at any age

Although most cases of keratoconus are first diagnosed in adolescence or young adulthood, it can appear during any stage of life. That’s why regular eye exams are crucial, even if your vision seems clear and your eyes appear to be healthy.

3. Early diagnosis is key

This rings true for almost every eye disease, especially keratoconus. Catching it early in its tracks can allow the eye doctor to implement various treatments to slow down its progression during the initial stages, when this condition tends to worsen more rapidly.

4. Keratoconus progresses at different rates throughout life

Keratoconus progression varies from person to person, and one person can experience varying degrees of progression in each eye. Some patients live with mild keratoconus their entire lives, while other patients develop severe keratoconus early on.

Often, optometrists will recommend that patients undergo certain procedures to strengthen the cornea and prevent or slow down further progression.

5. Keratoconus can be treated with surgery or scleral contact lenses

Corneal cross-linking surgery is an effective option to provide enhanced strength to the cornea and is the only FDA-approved method of stopping or slowing keratoconus progression. However, if the condition develops into severe keratoconus, a corneal transplant may be the best option for treating the condition and restoring clear vision.

Scleral contact lenses offer another option to surgery. They are ideal for patients with early or moderate levels of keratoconus because they safely and effectively correct vision without irritating the misshapen cornea. In fact, studies have shown that patients with keratoconus who wear scleral contact lenses greatly reduce their risk of needing keratoplasty (corneal transplant surgery).

The large diameter of scleral contact lenses allows them to vault over the sensitive corneal tissue and then also coat the cornea in a nourishing reservoir of fluid for optimal comfort and visual clarity. Because eye rubbing and corneal irritation are significant risk factors for the progression of keratoconus, the protective qualities of scleral lenses can help to minimize keratoconus progression.

6. You can live a normal life with keratoconus

With the proper care and treatment from your optometrist, keratoconus shouldn’t stop you from living your life to the fullest. Although it can be discouraging to experience vision problems that can’t be resolved with standard lenses or glasses, know that there are other options available.

At Eye Mechanix, we help patients with keratoconus and other corneal abnormalities achieve crisp and comfortable vision using scleral contact lenses and other specialty lenses.

Our practice provides scleral lenses to patients from Chicago, La Grange , , and , Illinois and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Randall Ricketts

Q: Who else can benefit from wearing scleral contact lenses?

  • A: Scleral contact lenses are ideal for patients with any of the following conditions: corneal abnormalities, severe dry eye syndrome, post-LASIK or corneal transplant, eye allergies, high refractive error or corneal trauma. Speak with your optometrist to find out if scleral lenses are right for you.

Q: Do all optometrists fit specialty contact lenses like sclerals?

  • A: No. If you are interested in scleral contact lenses, be sure to choose an optometric practice that has years of experience fitting specialty lenses. At Eye Mechanix, we have the knowledge, skill and experience necessary to provide you with the best lenses for your eyes. Call us to learn more or schedule your scleral lens fitting.

Request A Scleral Lens Appointment Today
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 773-857-1260

What’s the Link Between Sleep and Glaucoma?

Sleep is usually a time for restoration and healing, but the way we sleep, how much we sleep and conditions like apnea can increase your chances of developing a serious eye condition: glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a sight-threatening optic nerve disease that generally affects people over 50 and, in its early stages, usually presents no symptoms until permanent vision loss has occurred.

This is why it’s essential to have your annual eye exam, especially if you’re 50 or older or at high risk of developing glaucoma. Regular check-ups enable your eye doctor to detect any eye problems, including glaucoma, early on. This can maximize the effectiveness of eye disease treatment and management.

If you’re due for your annual eye evaluation, schedule your eye exam with at in today.

Sleep and Risk Factors for Glaucoma

The quality and amount of our sleep and the way we sleep can increase our risk of developing glaucoma due to the following factors:

Eye Pressure and Glaucoma

The pressure within our eyes is affected by the amount of aqueous fluid and its ability to drain from the eyes. The aqueous fluid doesn’t drain efficiently when we lie flat on our back. The lack of drainage due to positioning during sleep can increase ocular pressure, which can strain the optic nerve and increase the risk of glaucoma.

Blood Pressure and Glaucoma

When we sleep, our blood pressure decreases. This is often good for people who suffer from hypertension because it takes some pressure off the cardiovascular system. However, long periods of low blood pressure, or hypotension, during sleep has been shown to exacerbate glaucoma symptoms.

Sleep Apnea and Glaucoma

Sleep apnea is marked by the occasional or frequent cessation of breathing during sleep. Usually, the person is unaware that they have sleep apnea, and only a partner or someone else who sleeps in the same room will notice that they make choking or gasping sounds as they stop breathing.

These periods of interrupted breathing can lessen the flow of oxygen and damage the optic nerve. There is an observable link between people who have sleep apnea and those who suffer from glaucoma, which may suggest a causal connection. The risk of people with sleep apnea developing glaucoma could be as high as 10 times the average. Individuals with sleep apnea should consult with their primary care physician, who can suggest lifestyle changes and devices such as oral appliances to help treat the condition.

Glaucoma and the Amount of Sleep

Too little or too much sleep can affect general health and contribute to eye problems. As mentioned above, extended periods of lying down can increase pressure on the optic nerve and contribute to the development of glaucoma. Yet too little sleep causes fatigue and has been associated with field vision loss.

According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2005-2008), those who slept 10 hours or more a night had triple the risk of developing glaucoma compared to people who slept only 7 hours a night. Getting three hours of sleep a night tripled the risk of field vision loss.

Among other lifestyle glaucoma prevention tips, such as maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking, getting the right amount of sleep — not too much or too little — are important steps towards preventing optic nerve problems.

How Glaucoma Interferes with Sleep

Not only does the amount and way we sleep affect the development and progression of glaucoma. This optic nerve disease can interfere with our sleep. This occurs because the communication between the retina’s photosensitive cells and the hypothalamus — the part of the brain that contains the circadian clock that regulates sleep — is disrupted in glaucoma patients.

The hypothalamus no longer sends a message to the pineal gland to secrete melatonin and induce sleep at the proper time. The result: people with glaucoma may also experience sleep disturbances.

Risk factors for Glaucoma

Since many glaucoma patients do not experience symptoms prior to diagnosis, it is essential to undergo regular eye exams, especially for those considered at higher risk:

  • Aged 50 or older
  • Have a family history of glaucoma
  • Hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, heart disease
  • Are African American, Asian or Hispanic
  • Have corneas that thin at the center
  • Eye injury or prior eye surgery
  • High myopia (severe nearsightedness)
  • Take corticosteroids such as eye drops, pills or creams

How is Glaucoma Detected?

A digital eye exam maps out the eye with 3D full color images allowing your eye doctor to detect any problems early.

Retinal imaging can detect glaucoma and show optic nerve damage. Eye dilation is occasionally required before the imaging of the eye to enable your optometrist to more easily see the inside of your eye.

To facilitate the early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and other eye diseases and conditions, schedule an appointment with at in today.
At Eye Mechanix, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 773-857-1260 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lincoln Park eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Q&A

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Symptoms vary depending on the type of glaucoma.

Open-angle glaucoma results from a lack of drainage of fluid from the eye. It generally has no obvious symptoms in its early phases. In its later stages, it presents with:

  • Blind spots and patches in the central or peripheral vision
  • Tunnel vision

Acute angle-closure glaucoma occurs when there is a sudden buildup of fluid pressure in the aqueous humor. Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Eye redness
  • Appearance of halos

What Causes a Feeling of Pressure Behind the Eye?

Glaucoma is often caused by pressure on the optic nerve. However, a feeling of pressure behind the eye is generally only felt with closed-angle glaucoma.

An excessive amount of fluid in the eye, called the aqueous humor or a sudden blockage to proper drainage causes a buildup and increased pressure on the optic nerve. Drainage of the aqueous humor is through the trabecular meshwork, which is located where the cornea and the iris meet.

Eye Vitamins: Can They Prevent or Treat Glaucoma?

Some initial studies have shown a potential link between Vitamin A and Vitamin C and a protective effect related to glaucoma. However, a systematic review of the literature on vitamins and glaucoma (Nutrients, March 2018), concludes that these studies are inconclusive and more research, including randomized clinical trials, are needed to establish any clear link between specific vitamins and preventing or treating glaucoma.

2022 Sunglasses Styles For Men

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Sunglasses complement your wardrobe and express your sense of style while protecting your eyes against sun damage. Below, we’ve included the most popular sunglass styles which can be worn all year long.

Square Wire Frames

Square wire frames communicate casual sophistication and are ideal for round faces. Look for box wire frames that fit symmetrically square lenses and are plated with silver, gold or other metals. These eyeglasses are lightweight and are favored by celebrities like David Beckham.

Aviator Sunglasses

Invented in the 1930s to protect the eyes of American airmen, iconic Aviator sunglasses gained a new lease on life decades later, thanks to films like Top Gun. Look for a pair of Aviator glasses with sturdy yet lightweight metal frames so you can wear them for years, and lenses that screen out 100% of UV rays.

Eco-Friendly Sunglasses

Today, shoppers care about the environment and seek out sustainable eyewear. The market for eyeglasses made from renewable materials has expanded and now you can find glasses made with plant-based acetate or titanium. Some eyeglass companies will donate a pair of glasses each time they sell sunglasses.

Sporty Wraparound Sunglasses

Oval lenses and wraparound frames may tempt you to hit the open road. Not only are they retro and striking, but wraparound sunglasses provide more protection by screening out the sun’s rays all around and not just with the lenses at the front.

Mirrored or Tinted Frame Sunglasses

Reflective coatings are not just for hiding from the paparazzi–they are a fun and stylish way to make a statement. Invest in a high-quality pair of mirror-lens sunglasses, because cheaper coatings tend to wear off quickly.

In addition to mirrored lenses, tinted sunglasses can add a sense of fun to your outfit. Each color not only creates a distinct look and mood but can enhance vision. Dark turquoise can help you see the contrast in intense light and yellow is ideal for object definition.

Retro Round Sunglasses

Round frames are reminiscent of the 1960s rock era, most specifically, John Lennon’s signature eyeglasses. Round sunglasses are the epitome of cool, and you can look right over the top of them with a completely unobstructed view. Elijah Wood and Ryan Gosling are often seen in these charming retro shades, and round lenses have retained their appeal for decades.

Cool Clip-Ons

These aren’t the clip-ons that you find in the drugstore. Clip-ons no longer have to be tacky, but designers have created cool and convenient clip-ons. However, many of the newest styles are not clipped on but magnetic and create a seamless connection to the eyeglass frame.

Wearing sunglasses not only makes you look like a celebrity, but they protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation. In addition, to choosing the right sunglasses, it is important to schedule eye exams to ensure your eyes are healthy. Call Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park and schedule an appointment today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can performance and sport sunglasses enhance vision?

  • A: Many performance and sport sunglasses are tinted, and each kind of tint can improve an aspect of visual acuity. For instance, amber tints are the right choice for skiing and snowboarding because they allow wearers to detect contrast. Grey lenses reduce glare without compromising color detection. Photochromic lenses start clear and become darker in the sun. Anti-reflective coatings can reduce glare.

Q: Which non-prescription sunglasses should I choose?

  • A: Non-prescription sunglasses have lenses that do not correct vision. Therefore, you can choose regular non-prescription sunglasses if you do not need to wear glasses. Contact lens wearers can wear sunglasses without a prescription. If you wear glasses, choose a pair of sunglasses you like and ask youreye doctor if they can have prescription lenses made that can be placed in the sunglass frames. Make sure that your non-prescription lenses screen out harmful UV rays.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Eye Mechanix for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Why Are My Eyes Dry in the Morning?

dry eye treatment in Lincoln Park

If your eyes regularly feel dry when you wake up in the morning, it’s important to know why. Inflammation, age, medications and environmental factors can all dry out your eyes and cause other symptoms, such as a burning sensation in or around the eyes.

To identify the cause and relieve your dry eye symptoms, schedule an eye exam with Dr. Randall Ricketts at Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park. Pinpointing the underlying problem is the first step toward waking up in comfort.

What Can Cause Dry Eyes in the Morning?

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

If you can’t close your eyes fully at night, you may have nocturnal lagophthalmos, which can result from problems with the muscles that control your eyelids, a deformity in the eyelid tissue or partial facial paralysis.

More severe types of lagophthalmos can cause dry eyes during the day as well. With this condition, the eye dries out because the eyelids can’t close fully. This leaves the front of the eye constantly exposed to the air, resulting in excessive evaporation of the tears. If left untreated, any form of lagophthalmos can eventually damage the cornea, resulting in vision loss.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids caused by the malfunctioning of the meibomian glands. The meibomian glands are located inside the eyelids and secrete oils into the tears that lubricate the eye and create a protective barrier on the surface of the eye, minimizing tear evaporation.

Blepharitis most often occurs when these glands become clogged or the oil becomes thickened. The main symptoms are inflamed, dry, red and sore eyes. These symptoms may be worse in the morning because not blinking at night results in the glands becoming more blocked, and the vital oil layer of the tears dissipates while you sleep.

Medication

Many types of medication can cause the eyes to feel dry, particularly in the morning. These include:

  • Antipsychotics and antidepressants
  • Antihistamines and decongestants
  • Hypertension medications
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Gastrointestinal medications
  • Pain relievers
  • Skin treatments
  • Chemotherapy medications

Age

With age, the eyes produce less moisture and oils and tend to dry out more quickly. As a result, the eyes may become dry, red and itchy. In particular, women going through menopause may notice dry eye symptoms due to hormonal fluctuations.

When people get older, their eyelids may also become more flaccid and fall away from the eyes. This leads to watery tears running out of the eyes more easily, further reducing the volume of the tears.

External Factors

External factors such as air-conditioning and heating units can dry out your eyes, especially if the units are located in your bedroom or if you sleep under a ceiling fan.

Other external factors that can exacerbate dry eyes include air temperature and humidity, pollution and windy conditions.

How do I know if I have dry eye? | Eye Mechanix

How to Relieve Morning Dry Eye Symptoms

How to relieve morning dry eye symptoms will depend on the cause.

One of the main treatments for dry eyes focuses on relieving dryness by stimulating the production of oil from the eyelid’s glands.

Your eye doctor may prescribe an ointment to apply before retiring and lubricating eye drops in the morning. Eyelid treatments involving the gentle application of heat and massage can also help the meibomian glands work more efficiently by increasing the release of oil into the tears.

Consider using a humidifier to make the air in your bedroom more comfortable, and wearing a sleeping mask to retain eye moisture.

These tips may provide some relief, but it is essential to schedule an eye exam with
Dr. Randall Ricketts at Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park to determine the precise cause of your dry eye symptoms and receive the appropriate treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Should I Know about LASIK Surgery and Dry Eye?

  • A: LASIK surgery corrects vision by reshaping the cornea. This procedure involves making an incision that may damage the superficial nerves of the eye. As a result, the nerves of the eyes may not realize the eyes are dry, and therefore not stimulate the required secretion of tears. The result can be dry eyes.

Q: How to Treat Dry Eye Syndrome Naturally?

  • A: While nothing can replace the advice of your eye doctor, eating oily fish, flaxseeds, and other foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids can stimulate oil production in the eyes. Try applying warm compresses to your eyes and gently massaging your eyelids to unclog the meibomian glands. Protective eyewear, such as wraparound eyeglasses, helps block irritants and retain lubrication. Use a humidifier to moisten the air in your home. Applying eye drops regularly can also help prevent your eyes from drying out.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Eye Mechanix for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


In the Future, Smart Contact Lenses May Change Diabetics’ Lives

Having diabetes is a life-altering experience. A person with diabetes must vigilantly track and monitor their blood glucose levels. From carefully planning meals and when to exercise to glucose testing and timing medications, managing diabetes can be complicated and time-consuming.

Fortunately, innovators in the healthcare field are always driving technologies forward to make life simpler for those who need it most. One of the most intriguing recent examples is the development of smart contact lenses that can help in the diagnosis, management and treatment of diabetes and diabetes-related glaucoma.

The Smart Contact Lens: Promising Findings

A number of smart contact lenses have been in the R & D stage in recent years, but one of the most promising of these devices was created by a research team at South Korea’s Pohang University of Science and Technology, and announced on April 28, 2020. According to the researchers, the lens has the potential to diagnose, monitor and treat diabetes by using electrical signals to manage the administering of medicine to the user.

In an article published in the January 2018 edition of Science Advances, the team showed that, when tested on animal subjects, the lenses accurately measured blood glucose levels by analyzing rabbits’ tears.

As conceived for humans, the technology would use microchips embedded in a biocompatible polymer contact lens to determine a person’s blood glucose levels by analyzing the blood vessels at the back of their eyelids. If those levels were to drop below a certain safe measurement, the device would issue a warning.

Though this technology is still in the research and development stage, it and many other innovations could one day change the lives of individuals with diabetes.

At Eye Mechanix, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 773-857-1260 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lincoln Park eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Ref: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.aap9841

Q&A

How can diabetes affect my vision?

Extended periods of elevated blood sugar caused by diabetes can damage the blood vessels inside the eye, causing them to leak. This bleeding results in damage to the retina and a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. Symptoms include:

  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Floating spots
  • Vision loss

Diabetes can also cause swelling in the part of the eye responsible for fine detail and close-up work, known as the macula. This swelling is known as macular edema, and it can result in significant vision loss or even total blindness.

Are smart contact lenses for diabetics available to buy?

Although findings have been promising, smart contact lenses for the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of diabetes and related glaucoma are still in the research and development stage.

Vision Exams: What Does 20/20 Vision Really Mean?

eye exam near me

If you’ve had your eyes examined, your eye doctor likely asked you to read letters and numbers from an eye chart. That was to check for changes in your visual acuity, or sharpness of vision. Visual acuity can be measured in different ways, but the most common way is by using a Snellen eye chart — a chart with different sized letters and numbers in descending rows.

In 1862 Dr. Herman Snellen, an eye doctor in Holland, created the Snellen eye chart and coined the term ‘20/20 vision.’ Below we explore what that really means.

What is 20/20 Vision?

20/20 vision describes how clearly a person with normal visual clarity can see. All measurements of vision are taken when the patient is located 20 feet from the eye chart. A person with 20/20 vision can clearly read a certain row of small letters on the Snellen chart from 20 feet away.

A person with 20/40 vision who is 20 feet from the eye chart can only see the letters double the size of the letters that a person with normal vision can see.

Likewise, a person with 20/80 vision, who is 20 feet from the chart can only see letters four times larger than those seen by a person with 20/20 sight.

Legal blindness is considered to be 20/200 vision, and means that an individual with this sight at 20 feet away from the eye chart can only see letters 10 times larger than those seen by a person with 20/20 sight.

Is 20/20 Perfect Vision?

Not necessarily. This is a standard of measurement used by optometrists to help assess distance vision and prescribe eyeglasses and contacts, but vision is more than just 20/20 sight.

Several other visual skills are essential to functioning in today’s world and even a person with 20/20 vision can lack other necessary visual skills. Well-developed visual skills help individuals succeed at school, in the workplace and sports. For example, skills like eye tracking, teaming, convergence and visual processing all need to be up to par for a person to truly have ‘perfect vision.’ Visual acuity is just one piece of the puzzle.

Additionally, 20/20 isn’t the clearest possible vision. Some people have 20/15 or even 20/10 vision. This means their visual acuity is higher than a person with 20/20 sight.

How To Correct Visual Acuity

The first step in correcting a visual acuity problem is to undergo a comprehensive eye exam with your local optometrist. If your vision requires correction, your eye doctor will explain the different methods of vision correction, including prescription glasses and contact lenses.

Some people choose to correct their vision with refractive surgery, but like any surgery, it comes with the risk of surgical complications.

At Eye Mechanix, our goal is to help all patients achieve clear, crisp and comfortable vision, no matter their visual condition.

Not sure you have 20/20 vision? Call Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park today to schedule your eye exam today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What conditions can impair visual acuity?

  • A: Conditions like astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and an age-related loss of focusing ability (presbyopia) all impact sharpness of vision at various distances. Other conditions, including dry eye syndrome and cataracts, can also affect visual clarity.

Q: How common is it to have 20/20 vision?

  • A: Approximately a third of adults in America have 20/20 vision without the use of any vision correction, and 75% of American adults have 20/20 vision when wearing prescription lenses or other forms of vision correction.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Eye Mechanix for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Blinking Exercises for Dry Eye

Blinking Exercises 640×350Did you know that the average person spends around 7 hours a day looking at a screen? The glare and reflections from computer, smartphone, and tablet screens can reduce blink rates by as much as 60%. When we concentrate intensely we tend to blink less, which can, in turn, lead to dry eye syndrome.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include red and dry eyes, irritated eyes, blurred vision, painful or stinging eyes, light sensitivity and mucus around the eyes.

Blinking helps keep our eyes healthy and comfortable. With every blink, the ocular surface is cleaned of debris and lubricated, so less blinking means more irritation and dryness.

Below are a few blinking exercises to help you ensure that your eyes remain lubricated and refreshed throughout the day.

Blinking Exercises

Blinking exercises are simple to do and can be seamlessly integrated into your daily routine. These exercises should be done a few times an hour. Try alternating between the 2 exercises below.

1. Close-Pause-Pause-Open-Relax

  1. Without squeezing, gently close your eyes.
  2. Pause and keep your eyes closed for 2 seconds.
  3. Gently open your eyes and relax them.
  4. Repeat 5 times

2. Close-Pause-Pause-Squeeze-Open-Relax

  1. Without squeezing, gently close your eyes.
  2. Pause and keep your eyes closed for 2 seconds.
  3. While keeping your eyes closed, squeeze your eyelids together slowly and gently.
  4. Gently open your eyes and relax them.
  5. Repeat 5 times

The Importance of Fully Blinking

It’s important to fully blink to completely lubricate your eyes. If you’re only partially blinking, it can render your dry eye symptoms worse.

To find out whether you are fully blinking, just look at your eyes in the mirror. If they feel dry or appear red, or if you see a horizontal stripe of red blood vessels across your eyes, then you have been partially blinking.

If you’ve incorporated blinking exercises into your routine but are still experiencing eye irritation, you may have dry eye syndrome. We can diagnose the underlying cause of your symptoms, and offer a variety of dry eye treatments to alleviate any discomfort. Schedule an eye exam with Eye Mechanix today to receive effective, long-lasting relief.

Eye Mechanix serves dry eye patients from Chicago, La Grange , , and , Illinois and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Randall Ricketts

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome is caused either by insufficient tears or poor tear quality. Every time you blink, you leave a thin film of tears over the surface of your eyes. This helps keep your vision clear and your eyes healthy. If your tears don’t keep the surface of your eye moist enough, you will experience dry eye symptoms. Some medical conditions, certain medications, dysfunctional glands, allergies and environmental irritants can all cause dry eye symptoms.

Q: What are the symptoms of dry eyes?

  • A: Symptoms of dry eye include irritation; a gritty, scratchy or burning sensation; blurred vision; excessive tearing; and/or a feeling of having something stuck in the eye.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment Today
You Have Dry Eye? Call 773-857-1260

6 Tips For Adjusting To Wearing Scleral Lenses

6 Tips For Adjusting To Wearing Scleral Lenses 640×350Congratulations on your new pair of customized scleral contact lenses! As with most new things, there can be a learning curve when getting your scleral contacts to feel and fit just right.

Whether you’ve been prescribed sclerals for keratoconus, dry eye syndrome, corneal abnormalities or other conditions, it can take up to two weeks for you to feel completely comfortable in your new contacts.

Here are some tips to help shorten the adjustment period on your scleral lens journey:

1. Stick to proper hygiene protocol

Even the most perfectly fitted scleral lenses won’t feel right if they aren’t cleaned and cared for properly. Carefully follow the hygiene guidelines prescribed by your optometrist without cutting any corners. Although it may seem tedious at first, your efforts will be well worth the results.

2. Practice makes progress

The only way to make inserting and removing your lenses second nature is to wear them. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a bit more time to insert them than you’d anticipated. Wearing your sclerals daily will give you the opportunity to practice wearing and caring for your lenses.

3. Try out different insertion tools and techniques

At your initial fitting or follow-up consultation, your eye doctor will show you ways to safely and comfortably insert your lenses. Some patients prefer using a large plunger, while others prefer the scleral ring or O-ring. If neither of these recommended techniques are working for you, seek advice from your eye doctor.

4. Overfill the lens

A common problem that many patients encounter when they begin wearing scleral contact lenses is how to get rid of tiny air bubbles that get trapped in the lens’ bowl. Try filling up the lens with the recommended solution until it is almost overflowing. That way, you’ll have enough fluid left in the lens even if some spills out when you bring it up to your eye.

5. Give it time

If your scleral lenses feel slightly uncomfortable upon insertion — don’t worry. It’s recommended to wait 20-30 minutes to allow them to settle on the eye’s surface before attempting to readjust or remove them. Of course, remove them immediately and try again if you feel significant discomfort.

6. Follow up with your optometrist

Even once you leave your optometrist’s office, we encourage you to remain in touch with your eye doctor if something doesn’t feel right or if you have any questions regarding your scleral lenses.

To learn more or to schedule a scleral lens consultation, call Eye Mechanix today!

Eye Mechanix provides scleral lenses to patients from Chicago, La Grange , , and , Illinois and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Randall Ricketts

Q: What are scleral contact lenses?

  • A: Scleral contact lenses are rigid gas permeable lenses with a uniquely large diameter. They rest on the sclera (whites of the eyes) instead of the cornea, making them a more comfortable and stable option for people with corneal irregularities or dry eye syndrome. Scleral contacts hold a reservoir of nourishing fluid between the eye’s surface and the inside of the lens, providing the patient with crisp and comfortable vision.

Q: Who is an ideal candidate for wearing sclerals?

  • A: Patients with keratoconus, corneal abnormalities, ocular surface disease (dry eye syndrome) and very high refractive errors can all benefit from scleral lenses. Moreover, those with delicate corneas due to disease or after surgery find scleral lenses to be comfortable and therapeutic, as the lenses don’t place any pressure on the sensitive corneal tissue.

Request A Scleral Lens Appointment Today
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 773-857-1260